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Ukraine accuses Russia of seeking grain export stranglehold after Odesa strike, vows to respond

Ukraine says Russian missile attacks aim to completely cut off Ukraine’s outlets to the Black Sea” and coerce West into accepting Putin’s “grain ultimatum”
Destroyed grain terminal in Odesa. Credit: Operational Command “South”

Ukraine has accused Russia of attempting to isolate its access to the Black Sea and upend Ukraine’s grain exports through the water body after a series of missile strikes on the port of Odesa and other regions.

Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, stated “the primary aim of Russia’s missile attacks was to completely cut off Ukraine’s outlets to the Black Sea.”

He claimed the strikes were intended to “intimidate and derail international efforts to restore Ukraine’s grain exports.”

“According to the Kremlin plan, artificial threats of famine should first of all be created for the countries of Africa, and the level of migration dangers to Europe should be increased,” Danilov said in a social media post Sunday.

Danilov alleged Russia wants to use the threat of hampering grain shipments to “coerce the West into negotiations and accepting President Vladimir Putin’s ‘grain ultimatum'” – lifting restrictions on Russian ammonia exports and sanctions in exchange for unblocked Ukrainian exports.

He also accused Russia of trying to make the world “dependent on Russian grain shipments and logistics capabilities by destroying Ukraine’s export infrastructure.”

“After the failure of the idea of an ‘energy superpower,’ Putin wants to become a ‘grain super-empire,'” Danilov stated.

Ukraine says it understands Russia’s intentions and “will respond accordingly, primarily by fully answering the killings and destruction.”

Danilov called on the world and the West to “demonstrate firmness by ensuring the full restoration of Ukraine’s grain corridor under guarantees of international security.”

  • The Ukrainian official’s accusations follow Russian missile strikes on Odesa on the night of 23 July.  The attack caused casualties among local residents and destruction in the port infrastructure and destroyed the city’s largest and oldest cathedral.
  • On 17 July 2023, the Russian Federation withdrew from the Black Sea grain initiative, a UN-brokered agreement to unblock Ukraine’s ports and export its grain, and stated that it would guarantee that it would not attack civilian vessels after that date. The Ukrainian defense ministry mirrored Russia’s threats to ships at sea.
  • After that, the occupiers massively attacked Odesa and the region with missiles and drones for five nights, destroying ports, granaries, residential buildings, and other facilities. The attacks in the city and region also resulted in civilian casualties.



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